The Amateur (1981)

R  |   |  Crime, Thriller  |  12 February 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 646 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 2 critic

A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his ... See full summary »



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Charles Heller
Professor Lakos
Arthur Hill ...
Miguel Fernandes ...
Jan Tríska ...
Jacques Godin ...
Chapelle Jaffe ...


A researcher for the CIA who convinces his superiors to send him to the eastern bloc in order to avenge the murder of his wife by enemy agents discovers a web of deception underneath his wife's death. Written by Keith Loh <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


In a world of professional assassins, there's no room for an amateur. See more »


Crime | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 February 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

L'homme de Prague  »

Box Office


CAD 10,600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


One of two 1981 movies starring actor John Savage. The other was Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981). See more »


Kaplan: I lost my first wife, my first family. Two beautiful little girls. In the war, in the camps. I thought for a long time the loss would kill me but, I survived.
Charles Heller: How?
Kaplan: By creating a ritual to keep me alive. To survive the death of people close to you, you need a ritual. A ritual for revenge is what I made. I thought about it and planned it every waking moment. When I got out I spent three years tracking down the doctor who sent them to the camps.
Charles Heller: Did you fing him?
Kaplan: I found him, yes.
Charles Heller: What did... what...
See more »

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User Reviews

OK spy drama with John Savage...
12 May 2007 | by (Evansville, Indiana USA) – See all my reviews

1st watched 5/12/2007 - 4 out of 10(Dir-Charles Jarrott): OK spy drama with John Savage; who typically plays supporting characters; in the lead role. The movie starts with his significant other getting killed by what he thinks is a terrorist after they hold-up hostages in an American embassy in Germany asking for a couple of their cohorts to be released from prison. They plan to kill a hostage every 15 minutes until their demands are met and Savage's wife or girlfriend happens to be the first one and is shot, and then mysteriously the demands are then met. This "strangeness" is not explored much in the movie, but we find out why this happened in the last fifteen minutes. The focus is on Savage's character, who then blackmails the CIA, whom he works for as a code specialist(a kind of geeky position in the company), so they have to train him to hunt down the terrorists and he can have his sweet revenge. The CIA doesn't want this to happen and tries to stop him before he accomplishes his task. So, he's basically working on his own as an "Amateur" trying to hunt down these people, thus the title. Savage is OK in the lead, and the story keeps your interest but he doesn't have the charisma to carry a lead role -- especially one that requires a wide range of emotions like this one. The supporting cast is not very good or convincing and the plot seems to leave out things that could have fleshed-out the characters more so we could understand their plight and care for them more deeply. I don't particularly understand why this was done except that the director thought the actors couldn't pull it off or the studio wanted a shorter movie, but this kind of leaves the movie incomplete and makes for only a OK experience where it could have been much more.

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